McCain: Don't Stop With Petraeus, 'We Need a New Team'

Sen. John McCain wants new diplomatic team in Afghanistan, no withdrawal date.

ByABC News via GMA logo
June 23, 2010, 1:13 PM

June 24, 2010— -- A day after President Obama replaced the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, with Iraq War architect Gen. David Petraeus, Sen. John McCain urged the president not to stop there.

"It's completely understandable why the president made the decision that he did, based on the civilian-military relationship that goes a long way back..." McCain said today on "Good Morning America." "I also point out to the president, with my strong support of Petraeus, we also need a new team over there as well -- perhaps at the embassy and other areas."

McChrystal was recalled to Washington, D.C., from Afghanistan for a Wednesday meeting with President Obama after Rolling Stone printed an profile of the general in which he and his top aides made disparaging remarks about several top U.S. officials.

The Rolling Stone article claims that the unorganized nature of the diplomatic team in Afghanistan -- featuring several officials from various offices vying for influence -- makes coordination with the military difficult.

Without discussing its causes, McCain agreed that "the relationship between civil and military is not what it should be."

In quick succession, the president met with McChrystal in the White House Wednesday, accepted his resignation, met with Petraeus just minutes later and asked him to take over the job.

McChrystal's conduct, as detailed in the Rolling Stone article, "does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general," the president said Wednesday. "It undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our Democratic system, and it erodes the trust that's necessary for our team to work together to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan."

The president praised McChrystal for his "extraordinary dedication" and "love of the country," but made it clear the comments McChrystal and his aides made could jeopardize the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

Petraeus, currently the head of United States Central Command, is jokingly referred to by some in the military as a "water walker" with a near legendary ability to turn even the worst situations around.

He received enormous credit for turning the corner in Iraq where he served three different tours, the last overseeing the surge.

It will be the second time Petraeus has replaced an officer whose career was sidetracked by a magazine profile. In 2008 Admiral William Fallon lost his job at Central Command after an Esquire article put him at odds with the Bush administration.

Petraeus is expected to be on the ground in Afghanistan next week.